Prior to discharge from the hospital, I was told to go on a low-fat diet.

I was told, prior to discharge from the hospital, to go on a “low-fat” diet. However, I don’t have an appointment with either my cardiologist or my internist for about another 6 weeks. I would like to know what amount of fat I need to include in my diet. I’m about 40 pounds overweight, also, so I’d like to get the combined benefit of weight loss. I have been cutting my fat intake rather severely I believe and I’m not sure that’s a good idea. By severely, I mean I’m trying to stay at less than 20 gm of fat per day.

Unfortunately, your experience is becoming more commonplace with short hospital stays. A low-fat diet usually has 30% of calories from fat. Some low-fat diets may be limited to 30 or 50 grams per day, which would equal 23% to 38% of a 1200-calorie diet.

Less than 20 grams of fat per day is probably too low. While your weight and cholesterol would go down on such a diet, fat does add flavor and a feeling of fullness after eating. An eating plan with 1200 calories and 25 – 30% of calories from fat (40 grams of fat) would be a good place to start. If you ate 3 meals per day, you could include about 13 grams of fat per meal. The new Nutrition Facts food label does provide the grams of fat per serving. However, basic foods like meat, fruits, and vegetables aren’t necessarily required to be labeled. Why don’t you call a dietitian for an appointment to get your individual Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) prescription filled?